I am not the best parent in the world, and I am totally okay with that.
Some days I nail it. I run this thing like I know exactly what I am doing and everything falls into place. We all wake up on time, I remember to make dinner, we all brush our teeth in the morning and at night, and nobody throws themselves on the floor in a raging tantrum that is worthy of an award. Some days, I am spot on.
Most days, I am not. Most days involve a lot of yelling, or at the very least, extremely loud talking by 3/4 of us. Most days involve some sort of tantrum and all days involve a fair amount of tattling. I forget something relatively important every single day and if we ever arrive somewhere on time and are all wearing shoes, I consider us early and overdressed.
However, I like to look at all of the shit show days as teaching moments. Sometimes for the kids, but mostly for me. Nobody can teach you how to parent. It’s too messy, situations are different, children don’t fit into a mold. The only way to learn how to parent is through trial and error (and error and error).
I still have a lot to learn and a lot to screw up, but I have learned a few things about parenting while fumbling through it. I have learned that I’m even worse at cooking than I thought I was before I had kids. I have learned that I can function at a relatively high level on 4 hours of sleep, that 1st grade math is not always easy and that thunderstorms and rainy nights are, in fact, not perfect weather conditions for an amazing night of sleep.
I’ve learned that no matter how much I am doing, I will probably feel like I should have/could have done more, that 7 year olds are really good at laundry, and that there is not much funnier or scarier than a quick witted 3 year old.
I’ve learned more about trains than I ever thought I would care to know (and I’ve enjoyed it). I’ve learned that ice cream fixes almost anything and that a mildly skinned knee takes approximately 29 band-aids to make feel better.
As a parent you are constantly learning. But among all of the things I have learned so far, there is one thing I have learned along the way that I hold closest to my heart…
I’m doing it wrong.
That’s right. I’m doing it all wrong. All of it. I am doing all of the things wrong. And guess what? So are you. I’m not alone here.
You are doing it wrong.
If you bottle feed, you hate your baby. If you breast feed, you should never leave your house because you are an offensive jerk. If you vaccinate your kid, you are just a follower of the masses who is clearly uneducated and if you don’t vaccinate, you obviously don’t care about anyone but yourself and you are probably some weird hippie who has an affinity for Jenny McCarthy.
If you are a stay at home mom, you are lazy, or rich, or both and if you work outside of the home you are either selfish (because you are putting your career ahead of your child) or you are lucky (because you get the luxury of leaving your child behind for a scant 8 to 10 hours a day for a much needed break).
If you let them cry it out, you are abusive and your child will have trust issues and if you run to your baby the second he cries, you are spoiling him. If you yell, you are a terrible parent who is scarring your child for life and if you tell your child “good job” too many times then you are the root of every problem in this world full of sissies. Also, you must be a millennial, because…millennials. You probably also pick up your kid when the fall. Ew.
If you feed them all organic food then you are weird. If you give them a bowl of cereal every morning, you are lazy and if you use a little bit of left over frosting to “glue” the broken corner of the Pop-Tart together in the middle of a meltdown on your way out the door to go to work, you are an enabler. (Judge me if you want. That frosting worked. I saved that damn morning.)
If your child is still rear facing you are most definitely weird and if your child is front facing you are a deadbeat. Actually if you have a car seat that is buckled into your car, you have probably bought the wrong car seat, secured it incorrectly and positioned the chest clip all types of wrong. See, sometimes, you are not only wrong, but you are also mildly incompetent.
No matter what you do, someone thinks you are doing it wrong, and social media is always going to be there to make you question it all if you let it. But while you are wrong to many, you are right to those who count.
Sure, you will make mistakes and have to adjust your approach multiple times a day. But if you are trying and you care enough to wonder if you are doing it right…then you are. So you buckle up that 3 year old in his front facing car seat and let the hatters hate. Nobody is ever going to agree on all of it and someone is always going to think you suck. So you are better off accepting that you are always going to be wrong, because if you are right to you and your child and your family, then you are so. damn. right.
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